Although it was purely a coincidence that I arranged to have lunch at Yauatcha on the day when all of nearby Chinatown was celebrating Chinese New Year, it felt rather fitting that I should be eating there on a day when all thoughts were on new beginnings.
I’d been to Soho’s swankiest dim sum restaurant before, on a couple of occasions, but due to no fault of theirs always left with a sense of melancholy; I won’t labour the point but let’s just say unrequited romance was involved and I’d come to feel that Yauatcha and I were jinxed. This time I was with my purely-platonic pal Eliot, so there was no danger of me leaving with a heavy heart, and could appraise the experience rather less partially than on my previous visits.
Opened by uber-restaurateur Alan Yau – he of Wagamama and Busaba fame, as well as Hakkasan and Sake No Hana – in 2004, Yauatcha is a sleek, sprawling two-floor space designed by French king of cool Christian Liaigre. The ground floor tea room (although to call it such is rather like calling Harrods a corner shop) is a light, bright room done out in minimalist grey and black with accents of blue including the glass front wall; downstairs is a dark, sexy jewel-coloured dining room with acres of lacquer and a twinkling ceiling. We were seated in the former; the unsuitability of the low-slung seating for two chaps both 6’3″ and over is all I can find to fault about the design…
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